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How to Support Boston Restaurant Workers With Venmo Tips, Gift Card Purchases, and More

While restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery, many restaurant workers are currently out of work. Here’s how to help them.

Tip Jar Shutterstock/Africa Studio

With Massachusetts restaurants now required to shut down until at least April 6, except for delivery and takeout service, countless restaurant industry workers are suddenly out of work. (Find information about filing for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts here.)

As diners are looking for ways to support their favorite restaurant staffers, Eater Boston is collecting a running list of fundraisers, staff Venmo accounts accepting virtual tips, and other opportunities to help staff weather the storm in the coming weeks or months before their restaurants reopen. Email boston@eater.com with any updates.

Please note that while the fundraisers and Venmo accounts listed below have all been shared by the official social media pages or known representatives of their respective restaurants, Eater cannot guarantee that each restaurant will use the money as they say they will.

This list was originally published on March 17, 2020, and is being updated periodically; the date of the most recent update appears above.

See also: Eater.com’s list of relief funds for restaurants, bars, and food service workers nationwide.


General Fundraisers

  • Behind You Inc: “Our organization had previously been focused on restaurant employees who were out of work due to injury but we’ve temporarily pivoted [to those whose work is impacted by COVID-19]. We’ve raised about $45,000 so far but getting new requests at the rate of about one per minute and the money won’t last long.” Donations are being accepted via Paypal, Facebook, and Venmo. Food service workers who live or work in Beverly, Salem, Marblehead, Lynn, Peabody, or Swampscott can apply for aid here.
  • Emergency Funds for Boston-Area Service Workers: Organized by Gabby Bonfiglio and Emily Beaulieu, who work at a Cambridge brewery “where many of our friends have just lost their positions and major source of income. It is devastating not only to us, but to so many others in this industry. We wanted to do something locally and immediately to support our community.” Donations accepted here, and those who want to apply for funding support should do so here.
  • Help Camberville Hospitality Workers: Local bartender Naomi Levy (you may know her from her many years at Eastern Standard; most recently she’s been relaunching Variety Bar at Bow Market in Somerville) is offering custom cocktail creation for free via Instagram (send a message), tailored to the ingredients you have around the house. She’ll also be posting other free content, such as basic bartending tutorials. In exchange, she’s asking that those who can donate please give to this fundraiser in support of Cambridge- and Somerville-area hospitality workers. “All money raised will go directly to hospitality workers in need,” says Levy. “I will be starting off by supporting the hospitality workers at Bow Market and expanding from there. Hospitality professionals that are in need and would like to request funds can do so by filling out this form. Additionally I am offering up assistance with budgeting and financial planning which can also be requested through the form.”
  • Relief for Our Friends in Hospitality: From Ashley Stanley of local food rescue organization Lovin’ Spoonfuls: “In response to the COVID-19 crises disproportionately affecting the hospitality community, we commit to rallying around them. The restaurant industry selflessly and willingly gives themselves to the community to fundraise for causes of all kinds, and now they need our help. My wife and I ask our friends, colleagues, family and extended network in joining us in whatever amount is comfortable — this fund will be directly and evenly distributed among the Lovin’ Spoonfuls network of restaurants.”
  • Restaurant Strong Fund: A collaboration between the Greg Hill Foundation and Samuel Adams — with insights from chefs Ming Tsai, Ken Oringer, and Chris Coombs — to raise awareness and funds to provide grants to full-time Massachusetts restaurant workers who are dependent on wages plus tips. The grants are aimed at helping these workers cover basic living expenses and provide for their family, and the team hopes to provide as many $1,000 grants as possible. Sam Adams has kicked in $100,000 to start the fund and has committed to matching donations through March 31, up to an additional $100,000. Donate here; apply for a grant here.

Fundraisers for Specific Restaurants

For more options, you can visit this spreadsheet, which includes the Venmo accounts for numerous Cambridge restaurants and individual employees. It was not created by Eater Boston, and Eater Boston cannot vouch for the authenticity of the accounts listed. There is also a website called TipLocal.org that has begun collecting tip jars nationwide; there are currently several Massachusetts listings available. And here is a Boston-based website that displays the Venmo and/or CashApp info for one random local service industry worker each time you refresh the page.

  • Adelita, Woods Hill Table, and Woods Hill Pier 4: “Due to the public health crisis and the mandated closure of restaurants and bars in Massachusetts, there are over 130 people suddenly out of work between Woods Hill Table, Adelita, and Woods Hill Pier 4 alone. These include hourly workers and tipped employees, many of whom have families to support and were the main source of income for their families. Meanwhile, there is a huge backlog of applications at the unemployment office, with an estimated 20,000 applications submitted on March 16.” Accepting donations via Venmo “that will go straight into the pocket of our full-time hourly workers and tipped employees. No amount is too small!” @WH-adelita
  • Alden & Harlow and Waypoint: Starting [March 17] for the next month, gift cards for Alden & Harlow and Waypoint will be 20% off. The proceeds of these gift card sales will be used to offset the costs to provide critical needs for tipped wage and back of house hourly teams (approximately 100+ people) while we are without any income. Examples of what will be provided are raw food, prepared meals, medication, essential family needs (diapers, soap, shampoo, formula, etc.), paper products, and toiletries. This purchasing, distribution, and decision-making will be made by a select group of our managers and our hourly employees as to be fully transparent to our staff. We will also soon be circulating information on local funds for a wider swathe of industry and funds geared directly to undocumented workers here in the Cambridge area.” Alden & Harlow gift cards here, Waypoint gift cards here. Staff Venmo for the restaurant group here: @LF-AH-WPStaff Harvard Square, Cambridge
  • Backbar: The Somerville bar is running a raffle, with proceeds supporting the staff while they’re out of work. Prizes include Backbar merch, gift cards, a drink of the week customized for you, weekend reservations, a Treadbetter dinner for two, and more. Tickets are $10 each; buy as many as you want via Venmo (@backbarunion). Drawings will occur every Monday and Friday until the bar reopens. The raffle tickets can also be purchased on Backbar’s website (along with merch and gift cards). 75% of Backbar store sales during the coronavirus closure will also go toward the staff. Union Square, Somerville
  • Big Heart Hospitality (Fool’s Errand, Orfano, Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama): All donations will go straight to our hourly workers that have been furloughed. We’re feeding them and doing our best to provide them with the provisions they need, but toilet paper doesn’t pay rent. Donations of any denomination are so greatly appreciated.” Fenway, Boston
  • Blackmoor, LongCross, and Olde Magoun’s Saloon: “To help our dedicated restaurant staff, we are asking friends, colleagues, community, family and extended network in joining us to give whatever amount you are able. 100% of these donations will go to our staff. Any donation $50 or more will receive a 50% gift certificate based on your donation. That means, if you contribute $50 to our staff, we’ll send you a $25 gift card! Just specify which restaurant gift card you’d prefer when you give your donation. This fund will be directly and evenly distributed among the Olde Magoun’s Saloon, Blackmoor Bar + Kitchen and LongCross Bar + Kitchen network of restaurants. We are so grateful for your support, and your patronage means the world to us our family of restaurants. We will get through this together.” Charlestown, Medford, and Somerville
  • Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen: Offering a meal kit pickup and delivery service; find options and updates on social media and Brato’s website. “We are proud to announce that 100% of the gross profit of these sales will go towards establishing our own in house emergency wage relief fund for all of our employees. Every dollar after the cost of goods sold will be allocated to both staff available and healthy enough to work, as well as staff unable to report to work. All gratuity on these orders will similarly be divided among our staff in an effort to recover lost wages.” Brighton, Boston
  • Brewer’s Fork: “All proceeds will benefit our staff members who can’t work while we’re closed. We appreciate all who have donated already. We’re so grateful for the generosity and love.” @Brewers-Fork Charlestown, Boston
  • Brine Oyster Bar, Ceia Kitchen and Bar, Oak and Rowan: “We as a team work hard to make sure we provide the best. But now, unfortunately, with the recent Covid19 pandemic and mandatory closings, we had to make a hard decision and lay off over 60 employees from all of our 3 restaurants: Brine Oyster Bar, Ceia Kitchen and Bar & Oak and Rowan. A large number of our employees live paycheck to paycheck and I consider it an obligation to help the members of my family who will struggle until they are able to return to work. Now is the time we need you more than ever. Any and all donations will go directly to our hourly employees, this includes: line cooks, prep cooks, oyster shuckers, captains, dishwashers, reservationists, front and back waiters. I’m forever grateful for any generosity that you could show.” Newburyport and Boston
  • Capo and Lincoln: All takeout tips for the next three weeks will go toward a staff relief fund, as will 50% of gift card sales. South Boston
  • City Girl Cafe: “We have decided not to open for takeout in the upcoming weeks. It was a hard decision but one that we felt was the right thing to do. Be kind to each other and be safe. We heart you. Donations can be made through Venmo.” @CityGirlCafe Inman Square, Cambridge
  • Commonwealth: “As all of you know, COVID-19 has devastated our restaurant community. As a way to help our employees with their day-to-day living expenses, we wanted to ask you for any help that you might be able to afford. All of these funds will go directly to our employees, many of whom, currently, have no source of income. Any help you could provide would be amazing, we can’t wait to come back and see all of you again at CW, we just need help now to get us through this unprecedented time. Thank you everyone!” Kendall Square, Cambridge
  • Coppa, Little Donkey, and Toro: 50% of proceeds from gift card sales between now and April 30 will go into a staff fund to help financially support employees during this time. Order online: Coppa, Little Donkey, Toro. South End, Boston, and Central Square, Cambridge
  • Cushman Concepts (O Ya, Hojoko, and more): “We are deeply touched by just how many people have reached out to see how they can help our staff through this unprecedented moment in time. We never imagined a scenario that would require us to temporarily close all of our restaurants in Boston and New York City, and to have to let go of almost 250 staff in a matter of just one day. Our amazing and caring staff is the heart and soul of what we do, why we do it, and how we ultimately serve our communities. 100% of proceeds from this Gofundme page will go directly to our staff to help support them through these incredibly difficult times. Any and every little bit will make a difference in our team’s lives. We can’t thank you enough for your support and gracious generosity through these most challenging of times.” Multiple locations
  • Dante, Il Casale, and the Wellington: 50% of gift card sales via the restaurants’ websites (Dante, Il Casale Belmont and Lexington, the Wellington) through April 18 will go to a staff fund “to help our staff through this difficult time. ... We hope guests continue to purchase what they can in ANY amount, it’s good for our team and it’s good for them be one step closer to enjoying our brand of hospitality back in our restaurants. This goes a long way in keeping spirits alive and helping financially through this time. Our team so wants to get back into the restaurants and take care of all our guests. What a day that will be! So much gratitude for this generosity. To our friends and guests and the community: Thank you thank you thank you!” East Cambridge, Belmont, and Lexington
  • Deep Ellum and Lone Star Taco Bar: Due to high demand from you beautiful and generous people, we have created this Venmo account for donations for our staff. 100% of these donations go to the front and back of house staff. Leave us a note so we can share your love and THANK YOU. Words cannot express how grateful we are. Take care of yourselves!” @Lone-Star-Deep-Ellum Allston and East Cambridge
  • Estragon: “For those of you who are part of our Estragon family, you know that many of our staff have been with us for several years, and seeing the same faces each time you’ve dined with us has, we think, enriched the time you’ve spent with us. Just as you have been loyal guests, our staff have been loyal employees, standing with us through good times and bad. The funds we raise here will be entirely distributed amongst our front of house staff and our kitchen crew, to help them cover their fixed expenses during the weeks we are closed. No donation is too small, every dollar counts. We understand that everyone faces economic uncertainty in the weeks to come but if you feel you can make a contribution, know it will make a difference. We thank you for your ongoing support.” South End, Boston
  • Fat Baby and Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar: “Looking for the perfect gift? Love stuffing your face with tacos? Buy a gift card for a good cause! 50% of the proceeds from all of our gift cards sales will go directly to our staff relief fund!” (Fat Baby cards, Loco cards) South Boston
  • Forage: “We’ve set up a Venmo account if anyone would like to help our service staff that is getting hit the hardest to help them with rent and utilities. The money will go directly to those loving faces that have served you so well. You can find that account on Venmo @foragecambridge.” Cambridge
  • Good Life: “We support the governor and mayor’s decision to cease operations but unfortunately that leaves a heavy void for our family of employees that solely rely on their wages from this establishment for survival. In the 15 years we have resided in downtown crossing, we built everything from the inside out. The foundation of Good Life is truly our employees. The fabric they have created throughout the years are the relationships with each other and the relationships forged with you — our customer, our extended family. There’s a lot of people that have put their heart and soul into this place and do not have any other source of income. We have set up a fund for the employees of Good Life hoping to distribute any donations equally amongst the staff while we wait for things to get better.” Downtown Crossing, Boston
  • Grand Tour and Select Oyster Bar: Help directly support our staff during the COVID 19 pandemic. Restaurants are among the hardest hit at this time, limited to takeout and delivery. We have chosen not to move to takeout as we feel it puts our staff and their families’ safety at risk. While we are calling on the government for broad sweeping action, we also want to make sure our most vulnerable employees can put food on their table. We look forward to making it to the end of this pandemic and having a place for everyone to return to, and greatly appreciate any help you can provide. Cheers.” Back Bay, Boston
  • Great Scott and O’Brien’s Pub: We’ve decided to start this fundraiser in order to help our most at risk employees. These employees will have great difficulty securing other positions while we are closed as all bars, clubs, and restaurants in Massachusetts are closed as well. Any donation is greatly appreciated and with your help we can make things a little easier for some worthy people.” Allston, Boston
  • Highland Fried and Highland Kitchen: “Several friends and regulars of Highland Kitchen have reached out to ask about getting a collection for staff together. We have been so touched by these inquiries and have found ourselves so overwhelmed by all there was to do this week that we have not even had a chance to reply to many of you. We have spent the week getting our employees on unemployment and getting them paid for their time up until closing Sunday, donating food to Somerville Homeless Coalition, sending food home to employees, storing what food we could, and doing countless other things to get the businesses closed. It has been an emotional and exhausting week. We thank you for your kindness and support while we are closed. Thank you to those who are buying gift certificates while we are closed. Thank you to those who are pitching in to support our staff while we are closed. Thank you to Jon and Kevin for taking the reins on this while we were tending to other things. We feel so lucky to be part of such a beautiful community. We look forward to opening our doors and giving everyone a hug without social distancing once this is over. Be safe and be kind to each other. Much love, Marci and Mark” Highland Fried Venmo; Highland Kitchen Gofundme Cambridge/Somerville
  • Kamakura: “Restaurants are facing an unprecedented crisis. We all are struggling to stay solvent during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have joined with groups to be united in Boston and beyond to work together to survive this crisis. Restaurants are allowed to do limited services, however we have chosen not to move to takeout and delivery until the circumstances change as we think it puts our staff and their families’ safety at risk. While we are approaching the government for their action to save the food industry, our staff and working family at Kamakura are faced with financial hardship. We ask humbly and with great appreciation for any assistance to help offset some of these financial shortfalls in order for our hard working staff to survive in the wake of our current situation. All donations will go directly to our staff. We look fondly at where we’ve come from and with hope at where we could be. From our family to yours, we will see you on the other side. Arigatou-gozaimasu!” Downtown Boston
  • Levend Bagelry: “The funds will be distributed to the employees who work so hard to feed our city!” @Levend-Bagelry Downtown Boston
  • Little Dipper: The restaurant has set up a Venmo account to help its staff: @LD-Staff-Fund Jamaica Plain, Boston
  • Paddle Inn: “Many of you have been asking how you can help the staff get through this incredibly difficult time. We’ve set up a Venmo account for our staff. All money donated will be divided equally to our staff.” @Paddle-Inn Newburyport
  • Pammy’s: When you get takeout, buy bread. “Baking fresh bread is a big part of who we are. In an effort to give back to our staff and our community we will be depositing 50% of our bread sales into a fund that our unemployed staff can access if they need more financial support than the state can provide. The remaining 50% will be donated to @nokidhungry because they need it right now more than ever.”
  • Panificio: Raising funds for staff via a Gofundme campaign. “We all want to be safe and healthy, we will follow the guidance of the people in charge of the viral outbreak mitigation. We will try to provide food for the neighborhood as long as it remains a financially viable way to remain open. As we will be ceasing ALL sit-down service in the restaurant, it will be hard on our team with this loss of business .If you would like to support us it will be greatly appreciated, we will make it through this.” Beacon Hill, Boston
  • Parlor Sports and Trina’s Starlite Lounge: “Feeling hopeless about how to help your favorite line cooks, prep cooks, dishwashers, hosts, servers, and bartenders? We have set up a Venmo account that will get distributed amongst our amazing staff! @TrinaStarlite-ParlorSports.” Somerville
  • The People’s Karaoke and its partner restaurants: The traveling karaoke company is running a fundraiser where 50% of the proceeds will be divided among restaurants it works with (Charlie’s Kitchen, the Sinclair, Shore Leave, the Independent, Abigail’s, the Biltmore, Fat Baby, Hojoko) in the form of gift card purchases and 50% will “help the karaoke team’s life finances (rent, health insurance, etc.) while [they’re] out of a steady gig.” Plus, one person who donates will win all the gift cards in a drawing on April 20.
  • Purple Shell: 50% of gift certificate sales will be divided among staff. Call (617) 989-9982 or email info@purpleshellboston.com to purchase. South Boston
  • Rebel Rebel: “We’re doing our best to buoy everyone for the long haul, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t staring down the summer and wondering when we’ll be able to serve you again. If you’re at home having a glass and happen to think of us, maybe send a little Venmo love our way — we’ll collect and redistribute the funds among the team ❤️ Thanks as always, we love you.” @rebelrebelfund Union Square, Somerville
  • Revival Cafe and Kitchen: “On Monday, March 16th, we, along with many other restaurants, were faced with the heartbreaking reality that we needed to temporarily shut our doors to help fight this worldwide pandemic. With that, we were forced to lay off 37 staff members. These people are the backbone of our organization and this was an excruciating reality. With family to feed and bills to pay we are doing everything we possibly can to help them, but we need help. We don’t have the means to do it alone. And even if some sort of government assistance comes through, many of our team members will still be short of what they need. We hope we can offer them financial support to get through this difficult time. All money raised through this campaign will go directly to our staff. Please help our Revival Family. In community, we can, and will, get through this. We thank you so much in advance.” Cambridge and Somerville
  • The Sevens Ale House: “Many of you have been asking how you can help, and we couldn’t be more thankful for your patronage and thoughtfulness. We are truly lucky to be a part of this community. We have set up a GoFundMe account that will be distributed amongst our staff. We will see you on the other side of this, with a cold one waiting for you.” Beacon Hill, Boston
  • Simcha, the Chubby Chickpea, and Tapped: From owner Avi Shemtov: “... throwing a party for our loyal customers in order to raise funds to keep our staff taken care of during this crazy time. We will have all two beer trucks, two food trucks, lawn games and music, all in my back yard! Beers will be $6 each (think Castle Island, Exhibit A, Bog Iron, basically anybody we mess with and who messes with us!). Sandwiches will be $8, fries will be $5 and taco arabes will be $4 each. The ONLY WAY IN IS TO PAY FOR YOUR STUFF UP FRONT BY USING VENMO TO SEND IT TO US! We will shoot you an email (one email time per week, Monday AM) with your accounting so you know you’re good! When you arrive you’ll receive beer tickets, sandwich (the Chubby Chickpea!) tickets, taco tickets and fry tickets that you paid for. There will be NO PAYMENT ACCEPTED AT THE EVENT! Plenty of vegan options, non alcoholic drinks will be gratis, no refunds. Thank you in advance!” The party is scheduled for August 18, 2020, at Shemtov’s house in Sharon, and payment can be sent starting now to @Avi-Shemtov Sharon
  • Tip Tap Room: “We are truly blessed to have such a supportive community that has reached out to help our staff in this unprecedented time. We truly appreciate all of the kind words, elbow bumps and generous tips that you’ve already so graciously given our team. Many of you have reached out asking if there is any way to further support the staff. We’ve created this Gofundme for anyone who wants to contribute during this difficult time. This fundraiser will support all hourly employees (the servers, bartenders, cooks and support staff) at Tip Tap Room and all money raised will be divided evenly amongst those team members.” Beacon Hill, Boston
  • Tres Gatos: 100% of the money donated will go directly to staff. As a thank you we will send you a Tres Gatos gift card based on 20% of your donation. For example if you donate $100, you’ll get a $20 to use in the store or the restaurant. We can either put the card in the mail or hold it for you to collect when we reopen! Please include your name and address where you would like it to be sent under the comments or message us.” @tresgatos Jamaica Plain, Boston
  • Troquet on South: Matt Marini is selling a limited inventory of shirts and racerback tanks with this pineapple design for a $30 recommended donation. “Proceeds will be divided among everyone at Troquet. Support and represent the hospitality industry with its symbol plastered across your chest. In the Venmo note include: 1. Shirt or tank 2. Preference of black or grey 3. Size 4. Address if you want it shipped. You can also pick ‘em up at Troquet. If you don’t have Venmo and want to donate — let me know. We’ll figure it out.” @Mattteeeooo Downtown Boston
  • True Bistro: The option to donate to True Bistro’s employees is available through the online ordering system. Teele Square, Somerville
  • Tuscan Brands: “While entering this time of the unknown, it is Tuscan Brands’ mission to ensure that their cherished team is able to rest assured that they have their support as well as that of their communities. Effective [March 16] through April 6, Tuscan Brands will be donating 25% of all gift card sales to their staff who are often reliant on gratuities and unable to work due to the closures. Gift cards may be purchased by visiting: https://tuscanbrands.myguestaccount.com/guest/egift.” Seaport District, Boston, and other locations
  • Union Square Donuts: Through our GoFundMe campaign, 100% of all money raised will be going to support our staff during this very trying time. Over the last week, we have assisted our team with signing up for unemployment benefits. However, unemployment does not cover close to 100% of their wage, so these donations will have a direct and immediate impact.” Somerville, Boston, and Brookline
  • Veggie Galaxy: “We will pass along to our staff 100% of the proceeds from gift cards sold while we are closed. To purchase, please go to veggiegalaxy.com/contact and click the first FAQ. Thank you; stay home and be well.” Central Square, Cambridge
  • Vinal Bakery: “Many of you have asked how you can donate to staff to help during this uncertain time — this Venmo account will go directly to staff. Stay healthy and safe! Vinal loves you and we can’t wait to see you soon!” @VinalBakery Union Square, Somerville